Earlier this week Andrew Bird released a new EP titled I Want to See Pulaski At Night. It’s already one of my favorite releases of the year, and the title track is the best thing I’ve heard from Bird since 2001’s “Fake Palindromes.” I’ve always been a fan of Bird’s clever and quippy lyrics, and I love the way this song starts off:
Half empty, half full
Cup runneth over
We’re starting over
There’s something about that wordplay paired with the gorgeous string melody that makes me feel both sad and joyful at the same time. I can and have been listening to this song on repeat. I suggest you do the same.
What has happened to the country of Haiti is truly tragic. Sadly, though I have to admit that I have practically ignored what has happened. If you’re anything like me, if there is a problem that you can’t fix, you like to pretend like it doesn’t exist. Well I have been reminded lately of how big of a difference our generosity can make in times like this. Even though I can’t be there in Haiti to help out, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have an impact on their world.
So today I want to shine a light on an organization that has chosen not to ignore Haiti. Instead of just sitting at home and writing a check, the people at Paste Magazine are using the influence that God has granted them and have started a campaign to raise funds for the relief effort that is taking place in Haiti right now. They have asked artists from across the globe to donate songs that they would give away to those who donated to the relief fund. Right now there are over 200 artists that have contributed mp3’s for this cause, with a good portion of them offering exclusive unreleased songs.
Part of me feels a little sleezy trying to entice you into giving by telling you about all of the great music you can get if you do. But then again, if writing this post means that more money will be given, and more lives will be positively affected, then that is all that matters. I hope that those of you who are reading this recognize the great opportunity to “love your neighbor” through financial gifts and are doing so regularly. But that is another matter. For right now I have some great tunes to tell you about.
Paste has managed to get an excellent and very eclectic group of artists to participate. Of Montreal, Bruce Cockburn, Switchfoot, State Radio, Deer Tick, Andrew Bird, The Decemberists, Duncan Sheik, Ludacris and literally hundreds more have given songs to help the people of Haiti. And these aren’t just cheap b-side tracks that would’ve remained unheard. There are some real gems to be found in this musical smorgasbord. So head on over to SongsforHaiti.org and make a difference while you download music today.
The 2009 Line-Up for Austin City Limits Music Festival has been posted and it certainly does not disappoint. The festival is scheduled for October 2-4 with huge headliners as Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, The Decemberists, and Kings of Leon. I Hope Your Ears Bleed “approved” bands that will also be featured include, the music mash up master Girl Talk, Andrew Bird, Passion Pit, Bon Iver and The Avett Brothers. ACL festival has established itself as one of the premier festivals to attend; as well as the city of Austin securing its place as the “new” music capitol.
Leading up to this amazing festival stay tuned to I Hope Your Ears Bleed for an in-depth look into each band that will be featured this year as well as a pick list of bands to go see if you are fortunate to be in attendance this year.
If you would like to investigate yourself feel free to browse www.aclfestival.com which has bios, songs and videos posted showcasing each artist.
I hope some of these bands will make your ears bleed with anticipation.
This girl just keeps getting better and better. I find myself jumping at any chance to hear her voice, whether it is just backing up her bandmate A.C. Newman with their innovative rock band the New Pornographers, or as in this case singing the lead on a solo album. Although, fortunately for us, the term solo is very relative. Throughout the album she is surrounded by great talent with the guestlist including M. Ward, Garth Hudson, Sarah Harmer and members of the New Pornographers, Los Lobos and Calexico, to name a few. In addition to twelve new songs that Neko wrote herself, Middle Cyclone includes covers of ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth’ by Sparks, and “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. All I have heard is this first single that she has given away for free. But it is unsurprisingly rumored to be her best yet. As if I haven’t given you enough reason to go get this album, she recently graced the cover of Paste Magazine.
Check out this great video on the making of the album.
7. Samantha Crain
Songs in the Night – 4/28
The creators of my favorite EP of the year, are set to release their full-length debut this April. Samantha Crain hails from the tiny little town in Oklahoma where my beautiful bride attended college. So it has been fun to see how much attention she is getting lately. The album is going to be released on Ramseur Records, home of the Avett Brothers and the Everybodyfields, two bands that have been getting a lot of playtime in my library. Along with her band the Midnight Shivers (Jacob Edwards, Andrew Tanz and Stephen Sebastian), Crain recorded all twelve tracks in five days at Echo Mountain Studios with producer Danny Kadar (Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket). Here are two Daytrotter performances of tracks from the new album.
Zach Condon is absolutely phenomenal and I am so extremely excited about this album. As I am listening to the few tracks that have leaked so far, I am having a hard time imagining how I could be any more excited about an album. But apperently I can, for I have five more to go. If you are unfamiliar with Beirut, it is Balkan music filled with some of the most gorgeous horn arrangements you’ve ever heard, made by a kid from Santa Fe, New Mexico. In just a matter of weeks he gives us his third official release with a double EP, March of the Zapotec, Realpeople Holland. The latter of the two appears to be synth-driven, which is something completely new from him. It should be fun, but I am definitely glad that March of the Zapotec seems to be just building off of their usual style. I’ve heard a track from each, and honestly he’s never sounded better.
Yes I know, this album has already been released. Therefore, I am no longer anticipating this album, but rather I am in the middle of digesting it. But I am taking my time and savoring every moment. But it seems that is what you must do with an Andrew Bird record. I find my self just sitting for hours chewing not on just his intricate string-filled melodies, but also on his carefully chosen words. Like many of his previous records I have found myself curling up with a dictionary as I prepare to be taken into his whistly lit-pop world. Noble Beast is nothing new, but that makes it no less exciting. And so far it is very deserving of this number five spot on my list.